The deal comes amid explosive growth in the mobile ticketing sector. Several other ticketing companies have apps of their own trying to dominate the space; Live Nation updated its app last month and StubHub recently went live with its StubHub Music app that is being called a direct competitor to WillCall and LN’s offerings.
But Ticketfly co-founder and CEO Andrew Dreskin thinks there’s something significantly different about WillCall, which goes beyond curating shows and ticketing to allow seamless commerce in venues.
Almost half of Tickefly’s business already originates from mobile devices, so having an elegant app and point-of-sale system makes sense. Dreskin hopes it might even reimagine the experience for promoters and consumers.
“We think there are tremendous opportunities for promoters that flow from the data in the venue,” he told Pollstar. “We think it’s crucial for the melding of ticketing and in-venue POS data. It will give us the ability to extract data from the POS to show venues and promoters the true profitability of their events.”
WillCall CEO Donny Dinch agreed, noting that for consumers, the app helps minimize the time fans waste in lines paying for drinks or buying merch, and for promoters, it brings clarity about who the best customers really are.
“We use things like Google analytics and Mixpanel to understand what people are doing, to encourage their engagement and to learn about people,” he told Pollstar. “It’s kind of a black hole in venues – it’s very hard to understand if this person is a frequent customer. Do they spend a lot of money?”
WillCall is currently available in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles and while the plan is to eventually roll it out to a broader audience, it will operate as is for now.
The app currently has a few clients that don’t fall under the Ticketfly umbrella. Dreskin said the companies are debating whether WillCall will be Ticketfly exclusive or whether other events will be allowed.
Dinch joins Ticketfly as GM of customer experience under the terms of the agreement, and will lead the company’s consumer-facing and in-venue technology development.
“The way people are going to experience live events going forward is going to feel very different than historically,” Dreskin said. “I think the notion of the ticket is going to seem passé at some point.
“I think the phone becomes your ticket and it’s a frictionless experience. You don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket or your purse to order concessions. At the end of the night, you don’t have to close out your tab. … There’s an opportunity to push you information and offer you other things. This is about the next generation of live event-going and that’s why we’re excited about it.”